Update: Discovery UK channels will remain on Sky after last-minute deal is struck

I hear the Discovery Channel might be leaving Sky?

Yes, and it's not just one channel – it’s all 13.

Which channels are under threat?

If Discovery pulls its programming, Sky will lose…

  • Discovery Channel
  • Eurosport 1
  • Eurosport 2
  • Animal Planet
  • TLC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • DMAX
  • Discovery Turbo
  • Discovery Shed
  • Discovery Science
  • Discovery History
  • Home & Health
  • Quest

Wow, that’s a lot of channels. When might this happen?

The end of this month. That’s the 31st of January 2017, meaning there are mere days left to stare at Idris Elba boxing and generally being a god in Fighter.

What are the broadcasters saying and what is the dispute actually about?

Discovery UK is threatening to pull its programming from Sky after accusing the service of “[refusing] to pay a fair price” for its 13 channels.

In a statement, Discovery claims that it is currently paid less by Sky than it was a decade ago.

Commenting that negotiations had “reached an impasse,” Discovery accused Sky of using its “dominant market position to further its own commercial interest,” adding that “the vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.”

In response, a Sky spokesperson said: "Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic.

"Sky has a strong track record of understanding the value of the content we acquire on behalf of our customers, and as a result we've taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered.

"We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore. We will now move to redeploy the same amount of money into content we know our customers value."

Strong words on both sides.

Discovery UK have started a #KeepDiscovery hashtag to support their cause.

How many people actually watch Discovery on Sky?

Our calculations (based on data from GB TGI Clickstream and Kantar Media UK) suggest that Discovery channels as a whole on Sky have a weekly reach of around 6.7 million viewers.

 

What are viewers saying? 

Some people are threatening to cancel their Sky subscriptions if they lose the Discovery channels. Many of them say Discovery shows are the main reason they have Sky and that without them Sky’s subscription fee won’t be worth it. Some are “so mad at Sky” that they are threatening to pull their internet, too.

What TV shows would I lose?

Some of Discovery's most popular programmes include Gold Rush, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Idris Elba: Fighter, Fast N’ Loud and Marooned with Ed Stafford, all on the Discovery Channel.

There’s also River Monsters and Tanked on Animal Planet, and Cake Boss and Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.

Discovery also owns the Eurosport channels, which have live coverage of events including the US and Australian tennis Opens, World Superbikes and Giro D'Italia.

Are there other channels on Sky that show similar content?

Sky is at pains to point out that it has other "partners" which show similar types of programmes to Discovery. National Geographic has a range of documentaries covering everything from wildlife to popular culture, while the Travel Channel has explorer programmes with Ray Mears and the like.

Sky also has an on-demand bank of other documentaries available to some customers – including Origins, Ross Kemp Extreme World and the David Attenborough Collection. 

But that still won't help viewers who want to watch their favourite Discovery shows.

When it comes to sports, Sky doesn't have the rights to everything Eurosport shows, including the US and Australian Opens. And even if you do want to watch Sky Sports channels, you'll have to pay more than you do to get Discovery.

Where else can I watch Discovery channels if they leave Sky? 

Head over to Virgin Media or BT.

Will my Sky subscription get any cheaper?

This is not yet entirely clear, but when you split the potential savings between Sky's 12 million+ customers it's not likely to make much difference.

What next?

If you want content from Discovery to stay on Sky – then contact the broadcaster on 08435 047 685, tweet @SkyHelpTeam and @KeepDiscovery, and use the hashtag #KeepDiscovery.